John M. Chastain, Sr., was for many years an energetic and successful farmer of this county but is now living
retired in Leon in the enjoyment of a well earned rest. His birth occurred in Putnam county, Indiana, February
23, 1843, and he is a son of Levi and Louisa (Martin) Chastain, both natives of Kentucky. The father farmed in
the Hoosier state and also operated a sawmill for several years. Hem took up his residence there in pioneer days
and continued to live there until 1855, when he removed with his family to Decatur county, Iowa. At that time there
were only about twenty houses in Leon and much of the land in the county was unbroken and still in the hands of
the government. He had entered a quarter section in Eden township two years prior to his removal but on taking
up his residence here sold one half of that one hundred and sixty acres and purchased a quarter section closer
to Leon, all of which he had under cultivation in a comparatively short time although but thirty acres were broken
when the place came into his possession. In a log cabin which stood upon the farm the first court of the county
was held. After farming for a number of years Mr. Chastain removed to Leon, where he passed away on the 20th of
March, 1894. He had survived his wife since March 23, 1888. There were five children in the family, namely, Lucy
A., L. R., Mary E., Louise A. and John M.
The last named was reared and educated in Indiana and in this county and remained at home with his parents until
he was twenty nine years of age. He then purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land in Eden township, which
he improved and operated until 1881. He then removed to Leon and erected a good residence upon a half block of
ground which he had purchased. He took up his abode in the city in order that his son might have the advantages
of the excellent public schools but confirmed to own his farm and gave considerable personal attention to its operation.
Subsequently he removed to Des Moines, Iowa, where he resided for four years while his son completed his education.
At the end of that time our subject returned to his farm in this county, which he operated for six years, and then
again took up his residence in Leon, where he has since resided in the enjoyment of well earned rest. At one time
he owned a whole block of city property but has now sold half of it.
Mr. Chastain was married on the 26th of December, 1872, to Miss Sarah A. Albaugh, a daughter of John and Mary E.
(Layton) Albaugh, natives of Kentucky. The father became a resident of Indiana at an early day in the history of
that state and operated a sawmill there until 1856, when he came to Decatur county, Iowa, and purchased land in
Eden township adjoining the farm of our subject's father. He improved and cultivated the land until 1882, when
he retired from active life and removed to Leon, where he passed away in March, 1908. The demise of his wife occurred
in August, 1882. They were the parents of two children: Mrs. Chastain; and William A., who also lives in Leon.
To Mr. and Mrs. Chastain were born two children: Minnie, who died November 19, 1880; and Frank E., who is operating
the farm in Eden township which belongs to his father and which was formerly the property of his maternal grandfather.
He married Miss Maude Bruner and they have two children: Paul J., eleven years of age; and Harold, who is four
Mr. Chastain is an adherent of the prohibiton party and has taken an active part in local affairs of government.
He has served as trustee and as road supervisor of Eden township and he has also been street commissioner of Leon
His religious faith is that of the Christian church and during his life he has systematically followed the highest
standards of conduct.
History of Decatur County, Iowa
And its People
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Decatur County, IA
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